I don’t know if this post makes sense but I just felt the need to get my thoughts down…
I have my Uncle Jeff to thank for my utter fascination with the events of World War 2 and all things 1940.
I’ve always loved spending time with my Uncle Jeff. When I was just a kid I used to describe him as a real Man’s Man; someone you’re glad to have on your side having served as a Solider in the British Army, and it was always fascinating hearing his stories when he would come round to visit. As an adult, over the past few years I’ve not seen him as much as I would like but I’m glad to say we’re now making up for lost time. Over the past few weeks I’ve visited a few times and what’s great is that we have just picked up from where we left off and straight away start talking about World War 1 and World War 2; in particular what members of our family would have been up to.
Anyway now we’re catching up again I felt the incredible urge to take his portrait, so I arranged to head up to Staffordshire last weekend to actually take a couple of portraits; one being my Uncle Jeff and the other being my brother Greg who is a serving British Soldier. I can’t share Greg’s picture just yet because it’s going to be printed on Fine Art Paper, Framed and then given by Greg to someone who we just know will be incredibly happy to have it. I’ll share this with you just after Christmas.
I could end this post now but the purpose of me sharing this with you is to just encourage you to get out, take portraits of people who are special to you and give them a print. I can’t say it simpler than that. Having seen how happy my Uncle Jeff is with his portraits (above) and how happy Greg is with his, as a Photographer there’s no payment that would come close to equal how good this feels, and I really do mean that! Forget business, forget money!
Getting back to how my Uncle Jeff is responsible for my interest in World War 2, the picture below is my wife Anne and me with my Uncle Jeff in France in 2007 on Graye-Sur-Mer Beach, Normandy where my Grandad and his Regiment landed in 1944.
How this came about was pure coincidence. Anne and me were on holiday and whilst in France visited a few of the sites relevant to World War 2. I texted my Uncle Jeff seeing if he could let us know of places we could visit where my Grandad would have been when he landed in Normandy; his reply was better than we could have wished for…
“Me and your Aunty Janet are in France tomorrow. Let’s meet up in Arromanches-les-Bains and all of us can take a drive around” ; and that’s exactly what we did. BEST TOUR EVER! Going to places my Grandad and his Regiment would have been some 63 years earlier was incredibly thought provoking.
Below is a portrait of my Grandad during his time in the Army during World War 2 and on the right is one of the portraits I took of my Uncle Jeff this past weekend…
Back in 2002 when my Uncle Jeff and Aunty Janet were married, they had a full on, 1940’s themed Wedding with every last detail accounted for; everyone present was dressed in period clothing and even the menu at the Wedding Breakfast was authentic to the 1940’s.
Below is a picture of me and my Cousin Alistair playing our part keeping everyone in line during the wedding 🙂
So again, I just wanted to put something together to encourage you (if you need it) to get out and photograph people who are special to you. A portrait that has been planned, and is given quality time to get it right is a priceless gift.
Who is special to you? Why not take their portrait but before you do, show them what you want to do by showing them examples of other photographers work that you’re inspired by. For my Uncle Jeff I mentioned I wanted to do a classic portrait with muted colour and in the style of classic War time portraits like the one of my Grandad above, where the subjects didn’t look directly into the camera. Once I mentioned this I was so happy he said yes.
Result = Uncle Jeff is happy and I’m happy; it’s nothing but a Win, Win!